American Studies

Leigh Raiford Professor - African American Studies

Leigh Raiford is Associate Professor of African American Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, where she teaches, researches, writes and curates about race, gender, justice and visuality. She is the inaugural director of the Black Studies Collaboratory, a three year project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She also serves as affiliate faculty in the Program in American Studies, and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies.

Raiford received her PhD from Yale University’s joint program in African American Studies and American Studies in 2003. Before arriving at UC Berkeley in 2004, she was the Woodrow Wilson Postdoctoral Fellow at Duke University’s John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies. She is the recipient of fellowships and awards from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Ford Foundation, Volkswagen Foundation (Germany), the Mellon Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson foundation, and the Hellman Family Foundation and has also been a Fulbright Senior Specialist.

Raiford is the author of Imprisoned in a Luminous Glare: Photography and the African American Freedom Struggle (University of North Carolina Press, 2011), which was a finalist for the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Best Book Prize. She is co-editor with Heike Raphael-Hernandez of Migrating the Black Body: Visual Culture and the African Diaspora (University of Washington Press, 2017) and with Renee Romano of The Civil Rights Movement in American Memory (University of Georgia Press, 2006). Her work has appeared in numerous academic journals, including American Quarterly, Art Journal, Small Axe, Qui Parle, History and Theory, English Language Notes and NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art; as well as popular venues including Artforum, Aperture, Ms. Magazine, Atlantic.com and Al- Jazeera.com.  Raiford’s essays have also been included in the collections Remaking Reality: U.S. Documentary Culture After 1945, edited by Sara Blair, Joseph Entin and Franny Nudelman; Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self, (Harry N. Abrams Press, 2003), a history of race and photography in the United States edited by Coco Fusco and Brian Wallis; and Pictures and Progress: Early Photography and the Making of African American Identity, (Duke, 2012), edited by Maurice O. Wallace and Shawn Michelle Smith.